Sports vs Traditional in terms of Self Defense

isshinryuronin

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I have watched guys move like ballet dancers to beat fellow 7th Dan's. Then they take off armor to reveal a man in his 80s that has reached 8th Dan going 9th.
I know this is common in kendo. This sport, like the art of iaido, is cutting weapon based (though kendo has modified this into touches). The point is, these weapon types are not power based, but rely more on technique. It doesn't take much strength to cause injury with razor sharp steel. More importantly, perception, mental attitude, timing and intuition born of experience play a bigger part. These qualities do not wane over the years as physical abilities do. This is true of weaponless TMA as well to a certain extent, compared to more physically based combat arts such as wrestling and boxing, and perhaps muy thai and others as well. The big advantage to this is that TMA not only offers a lifetime of self-development, but a lifetime of being able to be active and actually do it at a fairly high level, even in advanced years.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Some preliminary statements:
  1. Self defense is defined as altercations outside of competition. We can discuss other definitions, but this is how they define it in the video.

  2. Don't worry about style. What you train is less important than how you train.

  3. Combat sports are styles that include live sparring, competition, and active drilling.
  4. Other styles focus on theoretical knowledge reinforced by passive drills and do not include competition or live sparring.
3 & 4 present a false dichotomy. There's a lot of room between those (namely, no official competition, but using live sparring and active drilling).
 

Steve

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3 & 4 present a false dichotomy. There's a lot of room between those (namely, no official competition, but using live sparring and active drilling).
Sure. We can discuss that, but to be clear, I was trying to summarize the points in the video for people too lazy to watch it themselves.
 

Steve

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3 & 4 present a false dichotomy. There's a lot of room between those (namely, no official competition, but using live sparring and active drilling).
To your point, official is a funny descriptor, but styles that dont have some kind of external, objective validation of skill are going to suffer. Professional training isnt generally competitive, but instead, the skills are applied in a professional context. You can incorporate competitive elements, but the validation comes in performance on the job.

Outside of that, competition is a proven, efficient way to build complex skill sets. A kid who plays soccer by himself is going to have some trouble learning the skills involved in soccer. Introduce competition with his friends in the street and he now is learning and applying those skills. But you get him on a team that has a good coach and skilled competition, that child will develop skills faster and to a higher level than if he farts around with his friends.

And that kid will have no idea how good or bad he is until he receives some direct, external feedback.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Sure. We can discuss that, but to be clear, I was trying to summarize the points in the video for people too lazy to watch it themselves.
It's been a while since I watched the video, but I thought that's where they came from. I just wanted to get that point out there, since you'd given the summary to work from.

I think we often get into "sport vs. traditional" as if there were well-defined lines between the two. I think there arent. I teach what most folks in BJJ and MMA would refer to as a "traditional" art (ryuha folks would disagree, but that's a problem we discussed early in this thread). I like a lot of the traditional methods, especially because of the aiki body principle development (which I don't know of a modern approach to). I also just kinda like the "feel" of them. That said, I also find a lot of value in the approaches taken by many sport-oriented arts. So I like sparring, rolling, and randori (Judo-style) much more than other folks in my primary art. Unlike some in my art, I don't have a problem with students wanting to enter a competition, and encourage it where the student has an interest (well, I did encourage it, back before I lost my training space).

I think we (generic "we") often get into debates here that turn into "stand your ground" competitions, because folks are using hard lines between things that aren't separated so cleanly. So both sides (where both are using that approach) are actually making some bad arguments.
 

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To your point, official is a funny descriptor, but styles that dont have some kind of external, objective validation of skill are going to suffer. Professional training isnt generally competitive, but instead, the skills are applied in a professional context. You can incorporate competitive elements, but the validation comes in performance on the job.

Outside of that, competition is a proven, efficient way to build complex skill sets. A kid who plays soccer by himself is going to have some trouble learning the skills involved in soccer. Introduce competition with his friends in the street and he now is learning and applying those skills. But you get him on a team that has a good coach and skilled competition, that child will develop skills faster and to a higher level than if he farts around with his friends.

And that kid will have no idea how good or bad he is until he receives some direct, external feedback.
I only use the word "official" to differentiate between you and me trying to best each other under some ruleset, vs. you and me trying to best each other under that same ruleset in a sanctioned event. I get pretty competitive in some situations, but don't really get into sanctioned events. I think the last "real" competition I entered was in high school, when I played soccer.
 

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I only use the word "official" to differentiate between you and me trying to best each other under some ruleset, vs. you and me trying to best each other under that same ruleset in a sanctioned event. I get pretty competitive in some situations, but don't really get into sanctioned events. I think the last "real" competition I entered was in high school, when I played soccer.
There is a lot of value in sanctioned events. Not least of which is that it isnt just you and me, but would be you, me, and random other people we may not ever have met before who may be a lot better than us.
 

Tony Dismukes

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I only use the word "official" to differentiate between you and me trying to best each other under some ruleset, vs. you and me trying to best each other under that same ruleset in a sanctioned event. I get pretty competitive in some situations, but don't really get into sanctioned events. I think the last "real" competition I entered was in high school, when I played soccer.
I've done thousands of rounds of BJJ sparring (under a variety of rulesets), but only a handful of official tournaments. The main reason, besides gradually aging out of competitiveness, is that they are usually so darn expensive. It's not uncommon to pay $100+ for entry and then only get a couple of matches.

This is another reason I'm enjoying HEMA. Because it's more of a niche interest, the people putting on events are doing it more for the love of and development of the art. I'm currently training for an event coming up in June. $75 for a 3 day event which includes a couple of workshops and 7 tournaments. (I don't qualify for the invitational or the women's longsword, but I'm signed up for the other 5.) You'll never find a deal like that in the BJJ world.
 

Buka

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There is a lot of value in sanctioned events. Not least of which is that it isnt just you and me, but would be you, me, and random other people we may not ever have met before who may be a lot better than us.
" who may be a lot better than us" is an eye opener that is not only a very valuable tool, but in many cases, that which lights the fire under our heretofore comfortable, unenlightened asses.
 

drop bear

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It's been a while since I watched the video, but I thought that's where they came from. I just wanted to get that point out there, since you'd given the summary to work from.

I think we often get into "sport vs. traditional" as if there were well-defined lines between the two. I think there arent. I teach what most folks in BJJ and MMA would refer to as a "traditional" art (ryuha folks would disagree, but that's a problem we discussed early in this thread). I like a lot of the traditional methods, especially because of the aiki body principle development (which I don't know of a modern approach to). I also just kinda like the "feel" of them. That said, I also find a lot of value in the approaches taken by many sport-oriented arts. So I like sparring, rolling, and randori (Judo-style) much more than other folks in my primary art. Unlike some in my art, I don't have a problem with students wanting to enter a competition, and encourage it where the student has an interest (well, I did encourage it, back before I lost my training space).

I think we (generic "we") often get into debates here that turn into "stand your ground" competitions, because folks are using hard lines between things that aren't separated so cleanly. So both sides (where both are using that approach) are actually making some bad arguments.

That is why the distinction is spelled out that way.

So if for example you did Senegalese wrestling. While more traditional than most arts in terms of age. It is still a live viable method trained with resistance.
 

drop bear

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I've done thousands of rounds of BJJ sparring (under a variety of rulesets), but only a handful of official tournaments. The main reason, besides gradually aging out of competitiveness, is that they are usually so darn expensive. It's not uncommon to pay $100+ for entry and then only get a couple of matches.

This is another reason I'm enjoying HEMA. Because it's more of a niche interest, the people putting on events are doing it more for the love of and development of the art. I'm currently training for an event coming up in June. $75 for a 3 day event which includes a couple of workshops and 7 tournaments. (I don't qualify for the invitational or the women's longsword, but I'm signed up for the other 5.) You'll never find a deal like that in the BJJ world.

Yeah. But I also assume you are not suggesting you are Lachlan Guiles but with different priorities.
 

Tony Dismukes

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Yeah. But I also assume you are not suggesting you are Lachlan Guiles but with different priorities.
Oh hell no. There are levels to this stuff and Lachlan Giles would dominate me as easily as I dominate white belts.

I dont think Im delusional when I consider myself an above average martial arts practitioner and instructor. But theres a big difference between above average and world class.
 

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Oh hell no. There are levels to this stuff and Lachlan Giles would dominate me as easily as I dominate white belts.

I dont think Im delusional when I consider myself an above average martial arts practitioner and instructor. But theres a big difference between above average and world class.
I think this post illustrates the value of competition. Its about knowing what you can and cannot do. You dont delusions of grandeur in combat sports.
 

Hyoho

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Hi
That's amazing and I'd like to understand more about this dynamic
I don't follow arts like kendo or fencing are the high level competitions dominated by older, more experienced folk?
Thanks
There are school and university competitions. I was on the squad of the Gakko Kyoshi Kendo Renmei. (School Kendo teachers association) Police have competitions and also gekiken type anything goes matches.

Nationals are usually dominated by a prefectural representative who has already graduated university and is probably in the Police or education. They are usually 5th \6th Dan. Ranks have been revised now by the association with the highest being 8th Dan. Before it was up to 10th. There is a yearly not to be missed 8th Dan competition, with the best in country competing.

Retirement from active organizing is 65 to have younger people step up to do the job. We can split Kendo into age brackets to determine what one is trying to achieve. 20/30 30/40 and so on. With age we are looking for perfection and quality in what we do rather than quantity.

I have to say I was a late starter. I never though I would catch up. Already Dan graded in my 20s but getting the crap beat out of me by police riot squad guys. But ten practices a week brought me up to par and above. Most of all my age had already taught me to use my brain to fight and not expend useless energy.

Below in one of my old high school kendoka Nishimura Ryutaro at the nationals. But the credit goes to both his mother and father who were national champions.

isshinryuronin

Kendo has modified this into touches? I would suggest that you put on the bogu and see how lightly you get "touched" My sensei always told me to cut down to suigetsu. More like pile driving than touching.

 
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dunc

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There are school and university competitions. I was on the squad of the Gakko Kyoshi Kendo Renmei. (School Kendo teachers association) Police have competitions and also gekiken type anything goes matches.

Nationals are usually dominated by a prefectural representative who has already graduated university and is probably in the Police or education. They are usually 5th \6th Dan. Ranks have been revised now by the association with the highest being 8th Dan. Before it was up to 10th. There is a yearly not to be missed 8th Dan competition, with the best in country competing.

Retirement from active organizing is 65 to have younger people step up to do the job. We can split Kendo into age brackets to determine what one is trying to achieve. 20/30 30/40 and so on. With age we are looking for perfection and quality in what we do rather than quantity.

I have to say I was a late starter. I never though I would catch up. Already Dan graded in my 20s but getting the crap beat out of me by police riot squad guys. But ten practices a week brought me up to par and above. Most of all my age had already taught me to use my brain to fight and not expend useless energy.

Below in one of my old high school kendoka Nishimura Ryutaro at the nationals. But the credit goes to both his mother and father who were national champions.

Thanks this is interesting
I totally agree that weapons reduce the emphasis on speed and strength and increase the emphasis on skill and experience - hence Im sure competitors have a longer shelf life
Im curious to understand how much this dynamic changes things though. Weapon arts still require fast movements of the body, quick reaction times etc all of which decline with age
So for example in kendo do they allow competitions that are open in terms of age and grade (if higher grades require a certain age)? And if so are they dominated by the older folk?
Based on a cursory look at the fencing Olympic medalists its clear that folk in their 20s dominate
 

Gerry Seymour

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There is a lot of value in sanctioned events. Not least of which is that it isnt just you and me, but would be you, me, and random other people we may not ever have met before who may be a lot better than us.
I agree. I wasn't making any judgment one way or the other - just explaining what I meant by the term I used.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I've done thousands of rounds of BJJ sparring (under a variety of rulesets), but only a handful of official tournaments. The main reason, besides gradually aging out of competitiveness, is that they are usually so darn expensive. It's not uncommon to pay $100+ for entry and then only get a couple of matches.

This is another reason I'm enjoying HEMA. Because it's more of a niche interest, the people putting on events are doing it more for the love of and development of the art. I'm currently training for an event coming up in June. $75 for a 3 day event which includes a couple of workshops and 7 tournaments. (I don't qualify for the invitational or the women's longsword, but I'm signed up for the other 5.) You'll never find a deal like that in the BJJ world.
Back when I made more money, I'd probably have been willing to pay that (certainly paid that much for one-day seminars. But I didn't have the interest then, unfortunately.
 

dunc

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I've done thousands of rounds of BJJ sparring (under a variety of rulesets), but only a handful of official tournaments. The main reason, besides gradually aging out of competitiveness, is that they are usually so darn expensive. It's not uncommon to pay $100+ for entry and then only get a couple of matches.

This is another reason I'm enjoying HEMA. Because it's more of a niche interest, the people putting on events are doing it more for the love of and development of the art. I'm currently training for an event coming up in June. $75 for a 3 day event which includes a couple of workshops and 7 tournaments. (I don't qualify for the invitational or the women's longsword, but I'm signed up for the other 5.) You'll never find a deal like that in the BJJ world.
Yeah Ive dabbled in competitions, but feel for me at least
a) its more of a young persons game as they have more people in the categories meaning you have more opportunities to learn for your time/dollar
b) the probability of injury is higher without getting a tougher roll in vs your academy (Im lucky in that the academy I train in has a lot of people from world class competitors down to hobbyists so I can roll with folk who are at a much higher level than Ill ever meet in a competition)
c) whilst I did find the unfamiliarity of the situation and the resultant adrenaline dump to be a very valuable experience this diminishes the more you do it so you kinda get the benefit from a dabbling, and
d) Ive had a hip replacement so am a little bit more cautious that I used to be

A lot of people really enjoy competing, it pushes them to develop faster and this is a good thing I feel
 

Tony Dismukes

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a) its more of a young persons game as they have more people in the categories meaning you have more opportunities to learn for your time/dollar
I don't think I've ever had the opportunity to compete in the "masters" division for older athletes. I started BJJ in my mid 30s, but the sport was new enough in my area that there weren't enough people for a separate division even for white belts.

These days there are enough people for masters divisions at the lower ranks, but not so much at the upper ranks. My last BJJ competition was at brown belt in my late 40s. The only match I won was against the 35-year old. All of my other opponents were in their 20s.
 

isshinryuronin

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Kendo has modified this into touches? I would suggest that you put on the bogu and see how lightly you get "touched"
I did not mean to infer that the "touches" are love taps, any more than "no or kiss contact" point karate matches are devoid of painful strikes. I was just differentiating that the katana in iai-jutsu is designed primarily for cutting techniques, as opposed to the more direct impact contact seen kendo, though both arts share the emphasis on skill and allow senior citizens to maintain a good level of activity.

My main point was that in other forms of fighting brute strength can overcome technique. Not so in kendo or some other weapon arts. I would be hesitant to face a 250 pound power-lifter in empty handed combat. I would count myself more his equal if we both had shinken, or guns for that matter.
 
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